Health care and the American Dream

Many of us in this nation seek the American Dream; that is, living prosperously, among other things. The Declaration of Independence clearly illustrates this desire, stating "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

One has to wonder what "unalienable rights" our citizens have when the US does do not adequately provide health care to its citizens. Instead, it has become a perverse circus ring of greedy insurance and pharmaceutical companies, all competing and seeking to get the most money out of our health needs.

What we currently have is not the pursuit of happiness unless, of course, you’re rich. Yet this country was founded on the protecting the rights of "all men," not just those fortunate enough to be born into a higher class.  With our current health system, far too many people are not given an equal chance. Those born into a household where there is not proper health coverage go without adequate care. Our current system is in the position of  abdicating the responsibility of caring for the sick.

Many seem to have a misconception that to not have health coverage is the fault of the individual. The article "Universal Access to Health Care" in a recent issue of the Harvard Law Review revealed, however, that the majority of the uninsured in the country are full-time employees. So much for that assumption. I think most citizens would agree that there are many valuable, necessary careers that do not merit health coverage in the US. Clearly, this is a major flaw in our current system.

Conservatives that don’t understand how a single-payer system will work often vehemently oppose its implementation with convoluted facts and figures. The main concern is usually tax money. Indeed, with health-care for everyone, the money would need to come from American tax-payers. Many people don’t realize, however, that with Universal Health Coverage, health care costs would be less.

All we need to do to confirm this is look at other countries spending. The US spends far more than any other country per capita on health care, yet doesn’t cover everyone as other industrialized countries do. How can this be? The main reason, as quoted the aforementioned Harvard Law Review article, is that a vicious cycle is created, where only the wealthy are now able to receive decent health care. This allows drug and insurance companies to drive the price up further, alienating more people from coverage.

We often hear about the supposed horrors of waiting for health care in Canada or elsewhere. Some will tell you how bad the health care systems are in other countries. Certainly, the manner in which universal health care is administered is different for each country, and each will have its own challenges. Yet, even with their imperfections, they cannot hold a candle to the flaws in our system.

Universal health care would also be much more of a democratic and uniform approach to regulating health care, as opposed to it being run by profiteers, as it is now. Profiteering should have no place in health care, where people’s lives are at stake. We need to cut out greedy insurance companies, and the deceitful tricks they play. Often, these companies scheme ways to make sure they get out of covering high-risk individuals. 

In the recent Republican convention, a few  politicians speaking began bashing filmmaker Michael Moore and his movie Sicko. "Moore showed how nice the Cuban hospitals were, but he didn’t stay–he came back to the United States," one politician remarked. I couldn’t help but wonder why they felt it necessary to take time from their meeting to address a film-maker like Moore’s, unless they were hiding behind this commentary instead of addressing the very real needs of American citizens. Seeking medical coverage for all isn’t anti-American; it is the most American thing we can do, helping everyone achieve the American Dream.

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